Completed Research Projects (2014)

Last year, our first round of research projects was funded and many have been completed. I thought it would be useful to provide links to the finished papers.

Kevin Boudreau and Karim Lakhani, “How Disclosure Policies Impact Search in Open Innovation”

Most of society’s innovation systems–academic science, the patent system, open source, etc.–are “open” in the sense they are designed to facilitate knowledge disclosures amongst innovators. An essential difference across innovation systems, however, is whether disclosures take place only after final innovations are completed or whether disclosures relate to intermediate solutions and advances. We present experimental evidence showing that implementing intermediate versus final disclosures does not just create quantitative tradeoffs in shaping the rate of innovation. Rather, it qualitatively transforms the very nature of the innovation search process. Intermediate disclosures have the advantage of efficiently steering development towards improving existing solutions, but curtails experimentation and wider search. We discuss comparative advantages of systems implementing intermediate versus final disclosures.

Sen Chai, “Conferences as a Vehicle for Collaborative Discovery and Innovation”

Despite an abundant number of yearly scientific conferences in all fields, to the best of my knowledge little quantitative work exist to assess the effect of attending conferences on subsequent collaborative behavior of attendees nor explored the citation trend of their outputs. Thus, there is limited empirical evidence on how conferences foster collaboration and diffuse knowledge. Scientists are advised to attend conferences to further their academic careers, but there are obvious trade-offs, such as loss of productivity and diverted funding. To address this gap, I investigate how the attendance of a conference affects a scientist’s career trajectory by focusing on its effect on the scientist’s subsequent collaborations and citations. I use a difference-in-differences model to contrast before and after a sample of scientists who attended one of fifteen Gordon Research Conferences to a matched sample of qualitatively similar scientists who did not. I find strong evidence that conferences lead attendees to collaborate more with one another and that effect is especially strong for attendees who have never published together beforehand. Conferences also enable scientists to showcase their research better and establish a community as evidenced by the increase in within attendee citations.

Andreea Gorbatai and Sonali Shah, “Together at Last: How Makerspaces Simultaneously Support Exploration and Exploitation”

The innovation and strategy literatures identify both explorative and exploitative activities as important, yet conflicting, aspects of organizational learning. The inherent tension between these activities arises from issues related to the costs and benefits of resource allocation within organizations—and, as a result, explorative activities are often marginalized in favor of exploitative ones. Given this theoretical backdrop, organizational designs that support both explorative and exploitative activities raise an interesting theoretical puzzle. Based on both primary source qualitative data collected through interviews and observation, and on archival data we seek to understand the factors that allow “innovation communities”—organizations comprised of voluntary participants— to support both exploration and exploitation. We study a particular set of innovation communities—makerspaces—that provide participants with access to a variety of tools, materials, and knowledge resources. Our research finds evidence for three characteristics—resource availability and sharing, heterogeneous participant expertise and goals, and fairness norms—that simultaneously facilitate both explorative and exploitative activities. Implications for research on innovation and organization design are discussed.

Frank Mueller-Langer and Richard Watt, “The Hybrid Open Access Citation Advantage: How Many More Cites is a $3,000 Fee Buying You?”

We study the hybrid open access (HOA) citation effect. Under HOA pilot agreements, HOA is assigned for all articles of eligible authors. We use unique data on 208 (1,121) HOA (closed access) economics articles. We control for the quality of journals, articles and institutions and citations to RePec pre-prints. Performing Poisson quasi-maximum likelihood regressions, HOA turns out to be a significant predictor of citations with marginal effects ranging between 22% and 26%. However, once we additionally control for institution quality and citations to RePEc pre-prints, the marginal HOA citation advantage turns out to insignificant and drops to 0.4%.

Sadao Nagaoka and Hideo Owan, “Author Ordering in Scientific Research: Evidence from the US and Japan”

This paper examines what drives author ordering in scientific research. There are three major findings. First, the nature of research, especially, as characterized by the research method used, significantly explains the variation of the use of alphabetical ordering across fields (mathematics and economics vs. others) as well as its variation within a field, supporting the importance of collaboration incentive for a research under incomplete contract. Second, the incidence of alphabetical ordering follows a U-shaped pattern with team size and is lower for collocated teams, supporting the importance of measurement costs. Third, having a Principal Investigator is associated with contribution-based ordering.

Min Ren, “When Big Data meets Life Sciences: Data Reporting Standards and Innovation”

Cumulative innovation is a driving force of economic growth. Access costs, the time and effort scientists need to devote to understand existing knowledge, may potentially hinder new innovation. I examine the effect of a decrease in access costs resulting from the adoption of a data reporting standard Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) on subsequent life sciences research. I take advantage of a natural experiment, in which different academic journals adopted the MIAME standard at different times, to implement a difference-in-differences estimate of MIAME on subsequent use of data in journal publications. The results show that microarray data submitted after a journal adopts MIAME is at least 50 percent more likely to be reused. Overall, the evidence suggests that the decline in access costs due to data reporting standards is important for the accumulation of knowledge in the life sciences.

Henry Sauermann and Chiara Franzoni, “Participation Dynamics in Crowd-Based Knowledge Production: The Scope and Sustainability of Interest-Based Motivation”

Crowd-based knowledge production is attracting growing attention from scholars and practitioners. One key premise is that participants who have an intrinsic “interest” in a topic or activity are willing to expend effort at lower pay than in traditional employment relationships. However, it is not clear how strong and sustainable interest is as a source of motivation in crowd-based knowledge production. We draw on research in psychology to discuss important static and dynamic features of interest and derive a number of research questions regarding interest-based effort in crowd-based projects. Among others, we consider the specific versus general nature of interest, highlight the potential role of matching between projects and individuals, and distinguish the intensity of interest at a point in time from the development and sustainability of interest over time. We then examine users’ participation patterns within and across 7 different crowd science projects that are hosted on a shared platform. Our results provide novel insights into contribution dynamics in crowd science projects. Moreover, given that extrinsic incentives such as pay, status, self-use, or career benefits are largely absent in these particular projects, the data also provide unique insights into the dynamics of interest-based motivation and into its potential as a driver of effort.

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